Nodame Cantabile Finale – 6
brb squealing like a fangirl
Definitely the most satisfying episode of the series so far — it’s one of the few since Nodame‘s first season ended where I believe that in terms of tone an execution it could fit fairly seamlessly into the first season. Probably not a coincidence that it also focuses almost exclusively on Nodame and Chiaki, with little bits of Tanya and Kuroki peppered here and there, with a dash of Li and Frank to top it off.
At the same time, even though this episode could fit easily into the first season, it also does a wonderful job of showing how much both Chiaki and Nodame have grown . . . and, of course, how both still have a bit of growing to do. Chiaki is nervous about telling Nodame about his performance with Rui, thinking she’ll go nuts when she learns the truth. But she surprises Chiaki by taking that bit of news in stride — it is being treated like a child that makes her upset. Nodame has grown to the point where she can accept that life won’t unfold for her like a perfect romance; she is frustrated that everyone seems to view her as someone who is not adult enough to accept reality.
I can identify with Nodame’s frustrations. Chiaki has good intentions — he doesn’t want to hurt Nodame — but his approach indicates that maybe he thinks, even if briefly, Nodame can’t handle that pain. That she needs to be protected a bit from a reality that doesn’t conform to her every wish. Even with good intentions, though, isn’t that a bit insulting? I would feel a bit insulted. I’d be understanding of why Chiaki put off telling the truth, but I would be insulted nonetheless. It’s basically someone doubting one’s ability to handle a disappointment in an adult way.
But to Chiaki’s credit, he gets it right away. He knows he can’t treat Nodame like a kid anymore — and he knows he should also be there for her after disappointing her when she played her first real concert. I actually like how the understatement of the moment when Chiaki decides not to go to Italy, effectively brushing aside a chance to be with Vieira that he had been waiting for basically all his life. That moment works to show how adult Chiaki himself is: Chiaki makes a simple choice about what is most important to him at this point in time. And he moves forward. He doesn’t make a huge deal about it — he simply moves forward.
To me, a big part of being an adult is making choices, living with the consequences (intended or otherwise) of one’s actions and learning from one’s mistakes. Even though it is understandable why he went off with Vieira when given the choice, Chiaki knows that he let Nodame down. But he does not make a huge show to Nodame and act as if he is giving her piano tips to make up for running away that night. Chiaki just knows that being in France is the right place to be, and that helping Nodame is the right thing to do. It is not a simple choice by any means, but the actual act of making the decision itself is simple.
One thing that confused me at first, but I think I understand better in retrospect, is Chiaki balking at Kuroki’s idea of playing together with Nodame with the Rising Stars orchestra backing them. He says he does not want Nodame to be satisfied with that kind of performance. Ever since he has become close with Nodame, Chiaki has been all about pushing Nodame’s talents as far as they will go. I think he believes that if he just gives Nodame what she wants, she’ll be satisfied with where she is currently and will not get any better. Which is true, I think — only insanely competitive people like Chiaki kill themselves to keep improving without any tangible incentive in front of them. (Which is the point of the amusing carrot/Nodamustang metaphor. :p)
Chiaki wants Nodame to believe that working her ass off is the only way she is going to get what she wants. If he just says, “Here, you and I will play with the Rising Stars” what does that do for Nodame, musically? It makes her happy, yes. But will it make her better? I don’t know. She’d probably work her ass off in preparation for the concert, but afterward? Who knows.
And the kiss between Nodame and Chiaki . . . gyabo~! It feels so natural and wonderful. Just two people feeling really close and enjoying a real connection talking about the one thing in life they love most. (Aside from each other, that is. ;D)